We can say a cup of coffee and a coffee cup, both of them make sense. Also, it's fine if we say a bus stop, a crowd of people and a story of passion, but...

...Why does it sound weird when it comes to a stop of buses, a people crowd and a passion story?

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    We usually only use adjectival "noun adjuncts" such as coffee cup, bus lane, love story (as opposed to a cup of / for coffee, a lane for buses, a story of/about love), if the particular "sub-type" of the primary noun (cup, lane, story) is known / familiar. But sometimes the preposition-based form has effectively the same meaning (a love story, a story of love), whereas with other combinations there may be different meanings. Possibly depending on the specific preposition - for example, a cup of coffee isn't the same thing as a cup for coffee / a coffee cup. Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 16:25
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    a cup of coffee is a cup that is filled with coffee. a coffee cup is an empty cup that is used to drink coffee.
    – talha2k
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 5:39
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3 Answers 3


A cup of coffee is a serving style of coffee (you could put coffee in a jug or a glass, but often itis in a cup). A cup of coffee is made of coffee. On the other hand a coffee cup is a type of cup, designed for coffee.

A "bus stop" is not made of buses. It is a type of "stop" intended for use by buses. So you couldn't stay "A stop of buses". That would mean a group of buses arranged to make a stop (?!) I can't imagine what that would look like. You could say "a convoy of buses" or "a traffic jam of buses".

On the other hand, "a crowd of people" is a gathering of people into a crowd. That makes sense. A "people crowd" would be a type of crowd, perhaps one for people to use, or intended to be used on people (?!) Again, I can't imagine what a "people crowd" would look like.

"Passion stories" are real things. They are stories of "the passion (suffering and crucifixion) of Christ" or stories to be told and performed at Easter. They are a type of story.

The "attribute+noun" form tends to mean "a type of noun", that is for the use by, or use on, or related to attribute"

The "noun1 of noun2" is a collection of noun2 to make a noun1


A bus stop is the enclosure, sign,bench on anything that signifies the place the (omni)bus stops to pickup/drop off passengers.

Similarly a/the bus depot means where the 'bus goes to sleep/refresh' :)

'This is where the bus stops' can mean a literal stop or a figure of speech.

Trust this helps.


A bus-stop is a compound noun like shoe-box, and a crowd is a collective noun, like a flock of birds.

A stop is a rarely used noun, also used for door stop and pit stop. It follows the same logic as the noun station, wine bottle, rain coat. there are exceptions like a chest of drawers, a crowd of people, usually related to the speed and ease of pronunciation.

The first reason for the sequence is that we say a stop, a station, a box, and the brevity systems of English encourage words like shoe box bus stop as a clear and practical spoken form which is clarified by the stress-timed timing system.

People tacitly adopt the most easy and agreeable way to say words, the words become fashionable because they are cool-sounding and convenient. For buS-Stop, the S means that it can be said in one word.

collective nouns: http://www.namibian.org/travel/misc/collective-nouns.html

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